Pathfinder Technology Demonstrator-1 Mission to Demonstrate Green Propulsion System

Video Caption: NASA’s Pathfinder Technology Demonstrator (PTD) project will test the operation of a variety of novel CubeSat technologies in low-Earth orbit, providing significant enhancements to the performance of these small and effective spacecraft.

The PTD-1 mission currently under development and slated for launch in 2019, will demonstrate a propulsion system with a water-based propellant. While in orbit, the system separates onboard water into hydrogen and oxygen propellants by applying an electric current through the water.

The propulsion system uses the on-orbit power provided by the arrays to power the miniature water electrolysis system. The demonstration will test propulsion performance through programmed changes in spacecraft velocity and altitude executed by the water-fueled thrusters.

The PTD series of missions is managed and funded by the Small Spacecraft Technology (SST) program within the Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters.

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Video Credit: Small Spacecraft Technology Program…

Pathfinder Technology Demonstrator-1 (PTD-1) Spacecraft Concept, courtesy of Tyvak NanoSatellite Systems, Inc.